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Re: assistive technology for ALS victim

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From: Jablonski, James (LNI)
Date: Mar 28, 2011 10:03AM


Hi Jon,

An assistive technology solution for the combined limitations and
restrictions you mentioned would likely need to combine several
components. Start from where your client is and move from there to the
next level. At first guess, I'd expect you want to be sure two-way
communication works well. There are a lot of speech synthesis solutions
available, but it's more important that the client will be comfortable
with the computer interface and then that the speech synth component
will work well with it.

What does you client most need to do? That's probably the best place to
start. Even if you are not putting something together for a job
situation, the "Job Accommodation Network"
http://askjan.org/soar/other/als.html can be helpful with background
information and ideas, since at the functional level tasks and desired
results can sometimes be generalized. Generally, I'd expect you will be
looking at an eye tracking component as part of the long term solution
for computer input. Check with her medical team. You want to capitalize
on her best long term capabilities because mastering an assistive
technology solution is not something one takes on lightly. It's a lot
of work.

If your client already has some switch-based control mechanisms in
place, you may want to look into using something similar or, if the
client is willing and able to go through another set of learning curves,
perhaps a more elaborate means of user input could be tried.

Companies like www.zygo-usa.com, www.words-plus.com,
http://orin.com/access/, http://www.eyecan.ca/, http://www.eyegaze.com/,
offer a variety of devices and methods that may be of interest. In
managing expenses and learning curves, it is sometimes possible to
implement incrementally with the best first choice being good
communication capability. If you help with that, be sure as much as
possible to plan for both short term gains, but especially for the
longer term. Depending on AT itself is often both liberating and
frustrating - even if what the world out there has to offer is
accessible.

Assistive technologies can be expensive, as you probably already know,
but depending where you and your client are, there may be funding or
equipment support available. Again, your client's medical providers
should be dialed in to helpful resources.

I hope that helps. Feel free to contact me off list if you'd like.

James

James Jablonski
Assistive Technology Consultant
Labor and Industries, Information Technology Division
LowerLevel , MailStop 4770, 7273 Linderson Way SW
Tumwater WA 98501

(360) 902-5888 <EMAIL REMOVED>


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Jon Brundage
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 7:48 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] assistive technology for ALS victim

Hello,

I am looking for assistive technology that can aid a sufferer of ALS.
She
has lost use of her hands (for the most part- has some motion with one
hand)
and is unable to speak.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jon